Alfredsson on verge of milestone
Senators captain will suit up for 900th career game on Sunday against Caps
Another milestone moment arrives Sunday afternoon for captain Daniel Alfredsson when the Senators face off against the Washington Capitals (12:30 p.m., Rogers Sportsnet, Team 1200).
The game at the Verizon Center will be the 900th of Alfredsson's illustrious National Hockey League career, all of them in an Ottawa uniform. That's another first for the Senators' career leader in goals (343), assists (546) and points (889), to name just a few.
Only two Senators, Jason Smith (991) and Dean McAmmond (907), have logged more games in the NHL. Injured Senators forward Shean Donovan is three games shy of the 900 plateau.
"McAmmond reached (the milestone) a few weeks ago," said Alfredsson, 36. "Donovan, before he got injured, was going to reach it before me. So we've been talking about it.
"Nine hundred is a lot of games. I can’t say it’s something you look forward to and say ‘wow, 900 games.’ It’s something you reflect upon after you retire and when you’re done playing, I guess, and you see how many games (you've played). It’s obviously an achievement and a testament to your age."
Alfredsson intends to keep pushing the number even higher in the years ahead.
"I love playing and I’ll keep going as long as the body allows, I guess," he said. "I’m very fortunate to have this job and it’s something you always love doing. Even if I wouldn’t have been a professional player, I would still play pickup and still be around the game somehow. When you get reminded that it’s 900 games, you reflect on how fortunate you’ve been.
"I think 900 is a lot of games and I never thought I would play that many."
That all of them have been played with the same team makes the feat even more impressive, said Senators head coach Craig Hartsburg.
"With free agency and those types of things, it’s probably going to happen a lot less." he said. "It’s certainly a great credit to Alfie and a great credit to the organization to reward a character player like that and keep him around.
The Senators (17-23-7) have earned a split on their current road trip, with Friday's 1-0 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets following on the heels of a 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues the previous night. Ottawa had its chances against the Jackets but couldn't solve goaltender Steve Mason, who earned his NHL-leading seventh shutout.
"We weren’t perfect (Friday) night but it’s a 1-0 hockey game and they’ve done that to a lot of teams lately," said Hartsburg. "That’s the way (the Blue Jackets) play. They play such a tight game. We had lots of scoring chances and against Columbus, when you do get a scoring chance you have to bury it.
"We didn’t have some of the energy we had the night before but defensively, we gave up five scoring chances the whole night. So there was good and bad to the game. You’ve just got to find a way in games like that to get that goal that you need."
Around the boards
Rookie Brian Elliott (4-2-1) returns to the Senators net against the Capitals. Hartsburg has yet to announce any other lineup changes for Sunday's game ... The Sens return home for the rest of the week, facing the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night at Scotiabank Place (7:30 p.m., Rogers Sportsnet, Team 1200), followed by visits from the Boston Bruins on Thursday (7 p.m., TSN, Team 1200) and Buffalo Sabres on Saturday (7 p.m., CBC, Team 1200).